Anna Rose Bain - The perfect evening
For some reason my Word document that I use to draft my blog posts has decided to make its dictionary French. I do use the French dictionary when writing to a couple of friends but why this particular document has become Francophile I cannot imagine.
I seem to have spent an inordinate amount of time in bed this last week. Actually, change the expression ‘seem to’ to ‘have’. There are times when fighting pain just gets too much and I have to head for bed and try to sleep. If I can’t sleep I can at least try to get as comfortable as possible and float my body as if it were in the Dead Sea (a good trick if you can do it). The problem is that I feel so guilty at taking time out and doing nothing, especially when Partner-who-loves-tea is working so hard – and such long hours. So there I am, lying in bed half-watching a football match to take my mind off pain and there she is still working at nine o’clock at night. Well, that’s my moan for the month completed!
A blog to visit
Every now and then I recommend a blog I have come across. And anyone who reads my blog will know that I post on a rather eclectic (wide-ranging, wide, broad, broad-ranging, broad-based, extensive, comprehensive, encyclopaedic, general, universal, varied, diverse, diversified, catholic, liberal, all-embracing, non-exclusive, inclusive, indiscriminate, many-sided, multifaceted, multifarious, heterogeneous, miscellaneous, assorted) mix of subjects. But, so far as I can recall, I have never posted about people with unusual names. That task has now been more than adequately undertaken by Jenny aka Fenifur. If you enjoy family history, true stories, good writing, and a sense of humour, please visit her blog – I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.
Books, books, books…
Having virtually killed off my book blog and said I would do some reviews here I have largely failed to do so. There is a huge list of books I’ve read that I haven’t commented on. (It’s 3.02 a.m. as I write this –I’ll obviously have to get up a bit earlier if I’m to do all I’ve promised to do…)
At the moment I’m in the middle of Edmund Crispin’s wonderful ‘Love Lies Bleeding’ (1948) an intelligently written piece of cosy crime. I’ve read it before but the ending is escaping me at the moment so it’s almost like the first time around. I would suggest it’s an ideal book for people whose second (third or fourth) language is English because there will be novel words every couple of pages. (Whatever happened to my Word blog????) I find Crispin’s characterisation leaves a little to be desired at times but his story-telling and style of writing more than make up for that.
I’ve just finished ‘Glaciers’ a debut novel by Alexis Smith (2012).
Smith’s debut novel’s main character, Isabel, is a cute, introspective young woman who works with damaged books at the city library and shops almost entirely at vintage/thrift stores, collecting remnants, things cast off or left behind by others. The plot moves through a day in Isabel’s life of working in her basement office at the library, strolling the streets of Portland, Oregon, daydreaming of distant places, and lusting after her co-worker, Spoke. But tucked between the chapters of the present day are stories detailing Isabel’s childhood—discovering her first thrift store when she was 4, watching the calving glaciers while growing up in Alaska... I thoroughly enjoyed it.
On the non-fiction front I’m reading “Quiet; the power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking” by Susan Cain (2013). I’m only a third of the way through it but already I’m fascinated by the study of the cult of character which dominated in the Nineteenth Century and the cult of Personality that gradually took over in the 20th Century. A change that I don’t think has been for the better.
For Christmas a friend in Nebraska gave me a wonderfully illustrated book by Mike Whye – “Omaha Impressions” (2008). It’s definitely a keeper despite my attempts to cut down on book space.
Ambrose Bierce – The Monk and the Hangman’s Daughter (1892) was another recent read. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it but I thoroughly enjoyed it and am glad to have read my first Ambrose Bierce novel. I have been quoting little gems from his satirical lexicon “The Devil's Dictionary” since I was a teenager.From "Perfumes: The guide" by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez.
As usual I’m also reading half a dozen other books at the same time. One which is keeping me amused and from which I shall share little snippets in a future post is ‘Aunt Epp’s Guide for Life’ by Elspeth Marr (edited by Christopher Rush) (2009). Covering all manner of subjects from chastity to copper kettles these musings of a 3woman who lived from 1871 to 1947 are sometimes old-fashioned, sometimes sensible, and sometimes downright hilarious. This is the entry for Diaries:-
Maintain a diary all your days. A diary is a doorway to a second life, running parallel to the one you live, and produces even a third life, for by recording the day's events, you preserve the days like berries. You may return to that day, taste it, and live it over again, but without that act of preservation the day has gone; it is nothing. More than this, by preserving your days, you will allow others to live that day for themselves, that hour, that afternoon, should they read your record, a day culled from the past, perhaps even hundreds of years from now; and this indeed is the aim and enjoyment of all writing, however humble, to seize the day, and to store it away on a secret shelf, out of reach of the Reaper and his swinging scythe.